Bishop Richards challenges colleagues to lead in transformation of society

Bishop of St. John’s-Basseterre His Lordship Kenneth Richards

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 30TH 2012 (CUOPM) – Bishop of the Co-Cathedral of St. John-Basseterre, His Lordship Kenneth Richards says the Caribbean Catholic Church must become present to the people of the region, and so transform its society.

Bishop Richards challenged bishops of the Antilles to lead the way in this transformation at last Sunday’s opening Mass of the 56th annual plenary meeting of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Georgetown. The AEC bishops met last week in Guyana.

Incarnational Ecclesiology: Expression of Easter Faith was the theme of the homily preached by Bishop Richards, the most recently ordained bishop of the AEC.

News reports say the Jamaica-born bishop is of the view that society today was “caught in a conundrum and a complexity” which challenges traditional values, so much so, many Catholics forget or disregard what the Church teaches.

“Others practice a ‘cafeteria Catholicism’- choosing what parts of the faith they will follow. Some profess the Creed but confine its influence only to participation in the Liturgy on Sundays.”

He said the odds seem stacked against the bishops in their efforts to counter this “tsunami”. He added that the Church’s credibility – “some real…some perceived…some a misconception” – was also a factor.

Church leaders are easily labeled as being out of touch with reality and having “no business in certain spheres of personal, social, or civil life.”

Bishop Richards said however, that the bishops have an obligation to “confront and challenge the reality of the experience of our Caribbean society to lead our people to the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that the Resurrected Jesus Christ offers to every human being.”

He said the Church must rediscover the way to be incarnate as Christ was.

“For the Church to be incarnate, it must begin with us its shepherds. So we must pursue ways, opportunities as to how we can become more present to our clergy and religious – those who stand in the vanguard for us in the mission of the Church – and in so doing, equip them to be incarnate themselves to become ministers who are present to our people, who in turn will become incarnate, present to society in a transformative way.”

The AEC meeting ended on Friday 27.

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